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Ronald Dickson Woodroof (February 3, 1950 – September 12, 1992) was an American man who created what would become known as the Dallas Buyer's Club[11] in March 1988, one of several such AIDS buyers clubs that sprang up at the time. After contracting the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in 1985, he created the group as part of his efforts to find and distribute drugs to treat HIV at a time when the disease was poorly understood.[12]

Ron Woodroof
Ron Woodroof.jpg
Ron Woodroof
Ronald Dickson Woodroof

(1950-02-03)February 3, 1950[1]
DiedSeptember 12, 1992(1992-09-12) (aged 42)
Dallas, Texas[2]
Spouse(s)Mary Etta Pybus (1969-1972), divorced[3][4]
Rory S. Flynn (1972-1973), divorced[5][6]
Brenda Shari Robin (1982-1986), divorced[7][8]
Parent(s)Garland Odell Woodroof (1917-1983)[9]
Willie Mae Hughes (1917-1996)[10]

He sued the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) over a ban on peptide T, a drug he was using.[13] Woodroof's final years became the basis of the 2013 film Dallas Buyers Club.



Woodroof was born in Dallas, Texas, on February 3, 1950,[1] to Garland Odell Woodroof (March 17, 1917, in Texas - December 3, 1983, in Dallas)[9] and Willie Mae Hughes (November 25, 1917, in Oklahoma - November 19, 1996, in Dallas).[2][10][14]

His first marriage was to Mary Etta Pybus on June 28, 1969, in Dallas;[3] they had a daughter, Yvette Lynn Woodroof (born February 1, 1970).[1] They divorced on March 23, 1972.[4] On May 6, 1972, he married Rory S. Flynn in Dallas.[5] They divorced on May 21, 1973.[6] He then married Brenda Shari Robin on October 4, 1982, in Lubbock.[7] They divorced on March 4, 1986,[8] after he was diagnosed with HIV.

He had a mercurial personality. One reporter writes that "Woodroof took guns to his doctor’s office, prompting Dr. Steven Pounders to 'fire him as a patient.'" Woodroof later sent the doctor roses, and the doctor took him back.[15]

Accounts differ on whether he made homophobic comments. Reporter and screenwriter Craig Borten has said Woodroof was "as racist and homophobic as they come" while friends reportedly claim the opposite.[15]

Dallas Buyer's ClubEdit

After suffering from the side effects of AZT, Ron Woodroof began looking for other drugs he could use to further prolong his life. He found nutritional medicaments and drugs not approved by the FDA for use in the United States which he found helpful in ameliorating his symptoms. He established what he called the Dallas Buyer's Club in 1988 as a front for distributing these drugs and other substances to AIDS patients.[16][17][18]

Death and afterwardEdit

Seven years following his diagnosis of HIV, Ron Woodroof died on September 12, 1992 from pneumonia brought on by AIDS. Woodroof became the basis of the 2013 film Dallas Buyers Club. He was portrayed in the film by Matthew McConaughey who won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance as Woodroof.[19]


  1. ^ a b c Texas, Birth Index, 1903-1995
  2. ^ a b Texas, Death Index, 1964-1998
  3. ^ a b Texas Marriage Certificate Number 067216
  4. ^ a b Texas Divorce File Number 009120
  5. ^ a b Texas Marriage Certificate Number 055738
  6. ^ a b Texas Divorce File Number 020049
  7. ^ a b Texas Marriage Certificate Number 156836
  8. ^ a b Texas Divorce File Number 014037
  9. ^ a b Social Security Death Index Number 445-03-6878
  10. ^ a b Social Security Death Index Number 465-18-1334
  11. ^ New Source Dallas Buyer's Club. NEW Source, December 1991, periodical, December 1991; Dallas, Texas. ( accessed April 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.
  12. ^ Ron Woodroof The website. Retrieved 2014-07-09
  13. ^ "The Dallas Cowboy Behind The Real 'Buyers Club'". NPR. 2013-11-01. Retrieved 2014-07-09.
  14. ^ 1940 United States Census: District 255-224, Family Number 207, Sheet Number and Letter 8A
  15. ^ a b Jacobson, Sherry. "The real story behind the 'Dallas Buyers Club' movie | Dallas Morning News". Retrieved 2014-07-09.
  16. ^ Harris, Aisha (2013-11-01). "How Accurate Is Dallas Buyers Club?". Slate. ISSN 1091-2339. Retrieved 2018-09-13.
  17. ^ "Ron Woodroof". Biography. Retrieved 2018-09-13.
  18. ^ "'Dallas Buyers Club': 6 Facts on Ron Woodroof". Biography. Retrieved 2018-09-13.
  19. ^ "'We can't even look at him': Family of real-life AIDS victim played by Matthew McConaughey in harrowing new movie reveal the TRUE story of courage that inspired actor's 'breathtaking' transformation". Daily Mail. London. December 6, 2012. Retrieved August 18, 2014.